About The Team
Finland is one of the most successful teams in Europe in junior level American Football with one of the oldest traditions in the great sport of American Football. First National Championship game was played after season 1986.
Finland participated first time in European Junior Championships in 1992 and won three first competitions in 1992, 1994 and 1996. Finland’s last visit in European Championship tournament was from 2008 in Seville where the team were 7th. In the latest European Championship qualification tournament in 2015 in Vejle, Denmark; Finland lost to Sweden and beat Great Britain, but did not make it to the final tournament. Last year Finland Blue Lions celebrated tournament victory in Nordic Championships which were the team’s first U19 championship in Nordic level since 2015.
The journey to European Championship tournament lead by Head Coach Tero Virtanen, started in early 2016 with trial camp for players born in 1998 to 2001. This year the team has had four training camps to prepare for the tournament with over 60 players. The final team will be selected after final training camp the weekend before the European Championship tournament.
The tournament team has 45 players from over 10 different club teams, majority of whom were in Nordic Championship team last season. Most of the players are on the rosters of their club’s men’s teams as well as junior teams. The team’s offense is coordinated by Atte Kniivilä and defense is coordinated by Sampo Ranta. Finland’s record in last three seasons is 4 wins and 2 losses. Against Denmark, Finland has won three last games and against Sweden the score is 1 win and 2 losses. This year’s competition Finland Blue Lions’ target is to “Go For the Gold”, the first time in 21 years.
TEAM FINLAND U19 NATIONAL TEAM, STAFF
Head Coach Tero Virtanen
Offensive Coordinator Atte Kniivilä
Defensive Coordinator Sampo Ranta
Assistant Coach, QB Janne Lehtinen
Assistant Coach, OL Antti Martikka
Assistant Coach, RB Sami Telenius
Assistant Coach, WR Julius Majander
Assistant Coach, DL Juha Hakala
Assistant Coach, LB Santtu Äyräväinen
Assistant Coach, DB Pekka Rantala
Strenght & Conditioning Coach Matias Sarvela
Team Manager Toni Vahla
Video Coordinator Jenny Holmberg
PR Riitta Rinta-Tassi
Trainer Niki Juurinen
Trainer Marko Kinnunen
Trainer Samuli Murto